Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Daily Bible Readings for Wednesday, March 16, 2022

The Narrow Door

The Daily Bible Readings
Wednesday, March 16, 2022
Psalm 105:1-15 [16-41] 42; 2 Chronicles 20:1-22; Luke 13:22-31
with commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Introduction & Summary

God’s Covenant with Abraham (Psalm 105:1-15 [16-41] 42)
The King Prays for Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 20:1-22)
The Narrow Door (Luke 13:22-31)

In today’s lectionary readings, our psalm recounts God’s work among His people from the time of Abraham through His delivery of His children into the Promised Land. It is a beautiful reminder of God’s faithfulness to the Children of Israel and His faithfulness to us today. We are encouraged in the first verse to thank the Lord, call on His name, and tell others about Him. Think about this psalm and pray today that you will be encouraged by such a faithful God who holds this world in His hands and yet still cares about even the little things in your life.

In our reading in the Second Book of Chronicles, the story of Jehoshaphat shows us how to have confidence in a crisis—not confidence in ourselves (the American way), but confidence in God. Jehoshaphat was shaken one morning when his intelligence sources came running in with the horrifying news. A vast army was coming against him.

In our reading in Luke, some unnamed person in the crowd asked Jesus an interesting theological question: “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” Most of us have wondered about that question as we look at the billions of pagans compared with the few committed Christians. But Jesus did not answer the question directly. Instead, He directed the question away from abstract theological speculation and toward a specific application for each person in the crowd.

Our verse of the day follows Paul’s advice on sins to avoid by listing positive traits Christians should strive to emulate. Among these are compassion, humility, patience, and forgiveness. More important than any other is love, which inspires the other traits and binds Christians together as a single family under Christ.

Today’s Verse of the Day:
Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience do not automatically become our characteristics when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. We have a responsibility to adopt these qualities, but we cannot do this on our own. As we surrender to the control of God’s Spirit, He changes us so that our lives become a reflection of Christ, thus exemplifying each one of these qualities.

Today’s Lectionary Readings:
From the Psalter
Psalm 105:1-15 [16-41] 42
God’s Covenant with Abraham

1 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
     make known among the nations what he has done.
2 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
     tell of all his wonderful acts.
3 Glory in his holy name;
     let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Look to the Lord and his strength;
     seek his face always.

5 Remember the wonders he has done,
     his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
     his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
7 He is the Lord our God;
     his judgments are in all the earth.

8 He remembers his covenant forever,
     the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
9 the covenant he made with Abraham,
     the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
      to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
      as the portion you will inherit.”

12 When they were but few in number,
      few indeed, and strangers in it,
13 they wandered from nation to nation,
      from one kingdom to another.
14 He allowed no one to oppress them;
      for their sake he rebuked kings:
15 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
      do my prophets no harm.”

16 He called down famine on the land
       and destroyed all their supplies of food;
17 and he sent a man before them—
      Joseph, sold as a slave.
18 They bruised his feet with shackles,
      his neck was put in irons,
19 till what he foretold came to pass,
      till the word of the Lord proved him true.
20 The king sent and released him,
      the ruler of peoples set him free.
21 He made him master of his household,
      ruler over all he possessed,
22 to instruct his princes as he pleased
      and teach his elders wisdom.

23 Then Israel entered Egypt;
      Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24 The Lord made his people very fruitful;
      he made them too numerous for their foes,
25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
      to conspire against his servants.
26 He sent Moses his servant,
      and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27 They performed his signs among them,
      his wonders in the land of Ham.
28 He sent darkness and made the land dark—
      for had they not rebelled against his words?
29 He turned their waters into blood,
      causing their fish to die.
30 Their land teemed with frogs,
      which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.
31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
      and gnats throughout their country.
32 He turned their rain into hail,
      with lightning throughout their land;
33 he struck down their vines and fig trees
      and shattered the trees of their country.
34 He spoke, and the locusts came,
      grasshoppers without number;
35 they ate up every green thing in their land,
      ate up the produce of their soil.
36 Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
      the firstfruits of all their manhood.
37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold,
      and from among their tribes no one faltered.
38 Egypt was glad when they left,
      because dread of Israel had fallen on them.

39 He spread out a cloud as a covering,
      and a fire to give light at night.
40 They asked, and he brought them quail;
      he fed them well with the bread of heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
      it flowed like a river in the desert.]

42 For he remembered his holy promise
      given to his servant Abraham.


A solemn call to praise and serve the Lord (vv. 1-7); His gracious dealings with Israel (vv. 8-23); Their deliverance from Egypt, and their settlement in Canaan (vv. 24-42).

Verses 1-7: Our devotion is here stirred up, that we may stir up ourselves to praise God. Seek his strength; that is, his grace; the strength of his Spirit to work in us that which is good, which we cannot do but by strength derived from him, for which he will be sought. Seek to have his favor to eternity, therefore continue seeking it while living in this world; for he will not only be found, but he will reward those that diligently seek him.

Verses 8-23: Let us remember the Redeemer's marvelous works, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth. Though true Christians are few number, strangers and pilgrims upon earth, yet a far better inheritance than Canaan is made sure to them by the covenant of God; and if we have the anointing of the Holy Spirit, none can do us any harm. Afflictions are among our mercies. They prove our faith and love, they humble our pride, they wean us from the world, and quicken our prayers. Bread is the staff which supports life; when that staff is broken, the body fails and sinks to the earth. The word of God is the staff of spiritual life, the food and support of the soul: the sorest judgment is a famine of hearing the word of the Lord. Such a famine was sore in all lands when Christ appeared in the flesh; whose coming, and the blessed effect of it, are shadowed forth in the history of Joseph. At the appointed time Christ was exalted as Mediator; all the treasures of grace and salvation are at his disposal, perishing sinners come to him, and are relieved by him.

Verses 24-42: As the believer commonly thrives best in his soul when under the cross; so the church also flourishes most in true holiness, and increases in number, while under persecution. Yet instruments shall be raised up for their deliverance, and plagues may be expected by persecutors. And see the special care God took of his people in the wilderness. All the benefits bestowed on Israel as a nation, were shadows of spiritual blessings with which we are blessed in Christ Jesus. Having redeemed us with his blood, restored our souls to holiness, and set us at liberty from Satan's bondage, he guides and guards us all the way. He satisfies our souls with the bread of heaven, and the water of life from the Rock of salvation, and will bring us safely to heaven. He redeems his servants from all iniquity, and purifies them unto himself, to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

From the Historical Books
2 Chronicles 20:1-22
The King Prays for Jerusalem

20:1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.

2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.

14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.

15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”
22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.


The danger and distress of Judah (vv. 1-13); Jahaziel's prophecy of victory (vv. 14-19); The battle is led by singing worshipers (vv. 20-22).

Verses 1-13: In all dangers, public or personal, our first business should be to seek help from God. Hence the advantage of days for national fasting and prayer. From the first to the last of our seeking the Lord, we must approach him with humiliation for our sins, trusting only in his mercy and power. Jehoshaphat acknowledges the sovereign dominion of the Divine Providence. Lord, exert it on our behalf. Whom should we seek to, whom should we trust to for relief, but the God we have chosen and served. Those that use what they have for God, may comfortably hope he will secure it to them. Every true believer is a son of Abraham, a friend of God; with such the everlasting covenant is established, to such every promise belongs. We are assured of God's love, by his dwelling in human nature in the person of the Savior. Jehoshaphat mentions the temple, as a token of God's favorable presence. He pleads the injustice of his enemies. We may well appeal to God against those that render us evil for good. Though he had a great army, he said, We have no might without thee; we rely upon thee.

Verses 14-19: The Spirit of prophecy came upon a Levite in the midst of the congregation. The Spirit, like the wind, blows where and on whom He listeth. He encouraged them to trust in God. Let the Christian soldier go out against his spiritual enemies, and the God of peace will make him more than a conqueror. Our trials will prove our gain. The advantage will be all our own, but the whole glory must be given to God.

Verses 20-32: Jehoshaphat exhorted his troops to firm faith in God. Faith inspires a man with true courage; nor will any thing help more to the establishing of the heart in shaking times, than a firm belief of the power, and mercy, and promise of God. In all our trust in the Lord, and our praises of him, let us especially look at his everlasting mercy to sinners through Jesus Christ.

From the Gospels
Luke 13:22-31
The Narrow Door

13:22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

He said to them,
24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30
Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”


Exhortation to enter at the strait gate.

Our Savior came to guide men's consciences, not to gratify their curiosity. Ask not, How many shall be saved? But, Shall I be one of them? Not, What shall become of such and such? But, What shall I do, and what will become of me? Strive to enter in at the strait gate. This is directed to each of us; it is, Strive ye. All that will be saved, must enter in at the strait gate, must undergo a change of the whole man. Those that would enter in, must strive to enter. Here are awakening considerations, to enforce this exhortation. Oh that we may be all awakened by them! They answer the question, Are there few that shall be saved? But let none despond either as to themselves or others, for there are last who shall be first, and first who shall be last. If we reach heaven, we shall meet many there whom we little thought to meet, and miss many whom we expected to find.

Optional parts of the readings are set off in [square brackets].

Today’s Lectionary Readings are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, a three-year cyclical lectionary. We are currently in Year C. Beginning with the first Sunday of Advent in 2022, we will be in Year A. The year which ended at Advent 2021 was Year B. These readings complement the Sunday and festival readings: Thursday through Saturday readings help prepare the reader for the Sunday ahead; Monday through Wednesday readings help the reader reflect and digest what they heard in worship. Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings, copyright © 2005 Consultation on Common Texts. The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel lessons are from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Commentaries from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible.

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